Minimally Paradoxical

balance paradoxical

After leading into a paired, two diamond board holding trips decent kicker, I am min raised.  With A10, I’m above the dividing line for winning and losing in a limped pot, so I’m going for max value against a perceived Ace rag.  I can’t be certain because this fellow limped AJ earlier, but that is in fact that only ace I’m worried about it.

Here’s the thing: with a better hand many players will paradoxically protect their equity better.  Whether you call it an information raise or not- and certainly many do, even in this age of overeducated and snarky poker brats who poo-poo the poker habits of yore, this min raise fits the pattern.  He’s a got an ace, and I need to hold.

So I raise him.  Not too big, but enough to build this pot up.

Now he raises me back.  Things just got interesting.  Or did they?

Nope, they just got more expensive for one of us.  Nothing changes the original min raise.  He can’t unwind the info that he gave me.  He raised for information, but it’s a two way street.  I still have him, and now I get to play for stacks – a 400 bb pot, with A10 on AA6dd.  He calls the rare flop 5-bet.

And he turns over J8dd.  Ok, now things are interesting.  How the hell did this happen? A flush draw has just a tad more equity than a dominated ace.  It turns out his bet was mimicking an information raise, was in part an information raise, and in part a very half-hearted bluff.  That’s a lot of stuff to pack into one conundrum.

Turn diamond, river ten.  The good guys retake the lead and win.

balanceThe paradox of the min raise is that some players, as this one did, like to use it to create bigger pots on the flop with questionable hands, but then on the river with the nuts, raise as small as possible so that they don’t lose you.  Without explaining the logic to them, if you could somehow just turn them around on this point of action, a whole generation of tougher players would emerge and the games would get very hard, very fast.

Fortunately, and absurdly, no one will ever read this who in fact needs this information.

2 thoughts on “Minimally Paradoxical

  1. Sorry to be obtuse, but could you explain the last thought again? Would the games be tougher if they min raised the nuts on the flop to build a pot and small bet the river with slight favorites?

  2. Indeed, that is certainly a good way to interpret what I am saying, and an interesting example in itself.

    To put it another way, if players who are bravely balanced on the flop, such as this player here, taking a course of action that confused his opponent (I never put him on a flush draw after the 4th bet and some players in my shoes might fold a middling ace) were balanced on the river, the games would be very hard to beat.

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